Monday, 31 July 2017

Connection

I felt lost for a while in recovery. I didn't do the programme very thoroughly for a number of years. When I was many years sober I went through the Big Book turning everything I read into a question to learn about myself and then when I got to the instructions bit from page 63 I followed everything there to the tee.

In particular, there had been gaps in terms of forgiveness and amends. I deliberately and systematically forgave everyone and made amends to many people who had been missed, until I got to a point there was no one left to forgive and no one left to make amends to.

The top of my life blew off and I found I could be immensely use to other people who were struggling as I had struggled. Life became far smoother and far easier, and a lot of joy and light flowed into it.

In the many years since that happened one of the chief joys has been carrying this message to many people through sponsorship in AA and through service carrying AA's message to the community and to the society I live in.

A relationship with a Higher Power was established through working for that Higher Power through service, and once that relationship was fully established all sorts of other joys and interests erupted into my life that I had not been able to connect to properly before that point.


My job was and remains: find out not what my will is for me but what the Higher Power's will is for me. Sponsorship and service turned and kept the lights on, and the light has now filled my entire life.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Courage

Courage: the strength flowing from a higher power channelled from deep within to face external adversity, challenge, or uncertainty.

Recovery has required me to change by facing not evading difficulty, pain, or discomfort and uncovering, discovering, and discarding all beliefs, attitudes, thinking, and behaviour that are not for the good of all.

It has required the abandonment of perfectionism—striving to acquire qualities serving base or selfish interests—in exchange for daily, concerted character-building: the relinquishment of vanity (in all its senses), self-centredness, and comfort- and thrill-seeking in favour of the virtues of patience, tolerance, kindness and love.


Everything worthwhile in my life has been achieved at the cost of self, and the price had always been well worth paying.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Change

Where the solution starts in any situation I am in is as follows:
(a) If I'm unhappy, discouraged, or otherwise at a loss, my perspective is wrong.
(b) I am entitled to my perspective but will continue to feel what I am feeling unless my perspective changes.
(c) I resolve to drop my entire perspective—to hold onto part of it is to hold onto all of it.
(d) I ask for a new perspective—from the Higher Power and from those I trust.

(e) I implement the course suggested.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Simple answers for people who stupidly think they're complicated

I posed four questions in prayer and meditation yesterday. (1) What is my relationship with humanity supposed to be? (2) What is my relationship towards the future supposed to be? (3) What is my purpose? (4) Where am I supposed to be? I asked these four questions because of generalised disquiet in these four areas over the last day or two. It's been suggested by people far wiser than me to take problems directly to prayer, and to seek answers that establish the attitudes and 'vision of the Higher Power's will for me' to embed in my consciousness. Whatever is embedded will then manifest, as it always has. If I embed negativity, that manifests. If I embed love, that manifests. And so on.

The answers that came – which when I consider them obviously come not from me but from the pool of wisdom and frankly sensible ideas I have been exposed to in recovery – were:

(1 Forgive, love, and serve others.
(2) Ignore the future except in as far as planning is strictly necessary and concentrate on the day.
(3) See 1.
(4) Grow where I'm planted.


None of these are novel or interesting, but this does not worry me. All spiritual answers to difficulties I have ever had boil down to simple, ground-level solutions rooted in humility.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Turning it over

Turning it over to the Higher Power for me means this: when I'm emotionally detached from the problem, I can access the Universe's best wisdom to act optimally, and the optimal solution will be achieved; when I'm emotionally involved, I don't see right, and I don't act right.

Occasionally, even when I act optimally, something bad happens: then, turning it over is asking to be given a way to look at the situation, namely the right way, which brings peace and love.

There is no situation I have ever experienced where this has not worked, with enough practice and dedication.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Turning to the Father of Light

Bill's Story: 
'Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all. '
A lot of people are unhappy. We create our own lives. Our physical lives are a manifestation of our thinking, and in turn of our beliefs, perceptions, and ideas. If we're unhappy, our beliefs, perceptions, ideas are wrong.

Here's a good solution:

(1) Make a list of areas where there are problems (either confusion, bad behaviour, or negativity):

Areas to look at:

Job, career, key intimate relationship, individual family relationships, relationship with friends in general, relationship with key friends, home, community, society as a whole, money, fun, particular hobbies, interests, or pursuits, body, food, sex, romance, religion, spiritual path, homegroup, AA as a whole, AA service, AA meetings, AA friends, stepwork, being sponsored, sponsoring

This is not an exhaustive list. Include the areas you have in your life.

(2) Spend half an hour a day to an hour every day saying a prayer something like this:

'God is big, strong, clever, creative, caring, and resourceful. God has infinite power and is infinite good. God is working through me out into the world, right now. God is currently dissolving all of my old ideas in the areas of ..., ..., and ... to replace them with new beliefs, perceptions, and ideas in order to bring about revolutionary change and fill my life and that of those around me with joy and purpose'.

Then visualise this actually happening.

Tips:

Start with no more than three areas but build up as you start to become more practised.
Do this for one month at least.
Do not monitor results (although feel free to observe them).
Do not give up if any old thinking 'sticks': just persist with the exercise in the sure knowledge it is already working.
Make sure the exercise is sufficiently general in each area to cover the whole relationship or the whole area of your life.

Your life is about to change.

Meanwhile: adopt this approach in all matters at all times:
'Go slowly from duty to duty, everything in order, resting often and praying in between, and claiming the power to work miracles in the lives of other people.'

Friday, 7 July 2017

The gap in Step Four

Step Four is supposed to be a complete moral inventory.

The instructions as they stand in the Big Book will catch most defects (defective beliefs, thoughts, and actions), but there is a gap.

The questions that elicit the defects are chiefly those in the 'fourth column' (the questions in the middle of page 67) and those in the sex inventory (on page 69). However, if an area of one's life does not trigger substantial resentment and does not involve sex, defects can be missed because there is no question that elicits them.

To remedy this, take the page 67 questions, which according to the Book should be applied to the items on the resentment list, and apply them to the following areas (in as far as they are not covered elsewhere in the inventory):

(1) Work and study
(2) Community and society
(3) Religion and God
(4) Money.

This can then act as the basis for a wholesale redesign of these areas under God's guidance.